Malaria Parasite Hacks Immune System to Invade Red Blood Cells

by Reshma Anand on  May 26, 2016 at 6:48 PM Research News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment
Font : A-A+

As scientists are working on a more effective malaria vaccine, the discovery of how malaria evades the immune system can help speed up this process.
Malaria Parasite Hacks Immune System to Invade Red Blood Cells
Malaria Parasite Hacks Immune System to Invade Red Blood Cells

The Penn State College of Medicine study showed that the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum hijacks an immune system process to invade red blood cells. Understanding how malaria invades the cells could lead to a more effective vaccine.

Malaria kills about 1 million people every year, mostly children under 5 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only one vaccine has been licensed, and neither it nor any others in development today will be 100 percent effective against malaria infection, said lead researcher Jose A. Stoute.

Immunologists have suspected that P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite, uses several mechanisms to evade the human immune response and invade red blood cells. The team showed that the parasite uses an arm of the human immune response called the complement system to do so.

The complement system is made up of proteins that aid or complement antibodies that fight infections. In a successful immune response, the production of antibodies against a pathogen triggers complement proteins to coat and kill the invader before it can cause harm. But in the case of malaria infection, the researchers learned, the parasite turns this process on its head.

"Our results contradict the dogma of what the complement system does, and will likely be subject to a lot of scrutiny," Stoute said. "Our findings suggest that development of an effective malaria vaccine that blocks red blood cell invasion is a more difficult task than initially thought. At the same time, we are now in a better position. By learning the malaria parasite's tricks, we may be able to bypass them."

One strategy might introduce antibodies that are less likely to activate complement, Stoute said. Better treatments could also be developed, such as complement inhibitors for use in people with severe malaria.

"We need to continue to explore ways in which we can develop, ultimately, a nearly 100 percent effective malaria vaccine," he said.The study appeared in the journal EBioMedicine.

Source: ANI

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Related Links

More News on:

Blood Group Thalassemia Malaria-water Tapeworm Infections Malaria Mosquito Diseases Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Trypanosomiasis Myasthenia Gravis Fever 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

Facebook

News Category

News Archive